Gregory Williams

  • Heimrad Bäcker

    Visitors walking into the MCA Denver’s Heimrad Bäcker exhibition might mistake it for a group show. With black-and-white photographs, floor-based sculptures, an austere group of prints, and fourteen issues of the journal neue texte, the various components do not immediately suggest the output of a single artist. Little known outside German-speaking countries, Bäcker (1925–2003) produced this complex body of work in two distinct historical phases: first, during World War II as a committed member of the Hitler Youth and the Nazi Party, then after 1968 as a photographer, writer, and editor working

  • Jack Whitten

    A visible presence among New York painters since the mid-1960s, Jack Whitten has recently received a surge of attention. Within the past couple of years, his work has been featured in multiple solo gallery shows and major group exhibitions such as “The Encyclopedic Palace” in Venice and “Blues for Smoke” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles—not to mention on the cover of this magazine in February 2012—and a retrospective, scheduled for the fall of 2014, is currently in preparation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. The theme of rediscovery continues at the Rose

  • Tony Feher

    In the early 1990s, Tony Feher became known, along with contemporaries such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Gabriel Orozco, for rearranging common materials into poetic configurations. Extending the tradition of the readymade into a sculptural sensibility privileging tactile and temporal engagements with ordinary things, Feher struck a balance between allowing his found elements to retain their objecthood, and transforming their individual qualities. Presenting more than twenty-five years of work, this survey establishes Feher as an important figure in the transition between Minimalist industrial

  • Derrick Adams

    Situated within a performing-arts complex, Derrick Adams’s exhibition “The World According to Derrick: Performative Objects in Formation” synced nicely with its surroundings. The show, organized by art historian (and Artforum contributor) Nuit Banai, tracked more than a decade of the New York–based artist’s production, dating back to his student days. From the beginning, Adams has invested his work with a high degree of performativity, though to call him a performance artist would be too limiting. Rather, he fluidly traverses the categorical distinctions typically drawn between performance and

  • Juan Muñoz

    Five years after Juan Muñoz’s premature death at age forty-eight, this survey will allow viewers to judge how well sculptural illusionism holds up in the present.

    Juan Muñoz once claimed that his figurative sculptures stand in opposition to Frank Stella’s what-you-see-is-what-you-see approach to painting. For the Spanish artist, sculpture need not be at odds with painting’s centuries-old drive to trick the eye. Yet despite the obvious differences between the two media, Muñoz’s signature assemblies of grinning and gesturing people force a navigation of space that creates an unexpected dialogue with Minimalism. Five years after the artist’s premature death at age forty-eight, this survey will allow viewers to

  • Georg Herold

    Among the West German artists who came into prominence in the ’80s, Georg Herold somehow missed out on the international notoriety of his friends and occasional collaborators Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen. Until now, no exhibition has covered Herold’s entire career in depth. Though this traveling retrospective happily corrects the oversight, it is disappointing that it won’t be seen outside the German-speaking countries; Herold deserves a bigger audience.

    Like many established German artists, Herold grew up in the East and made his reputation in the West, having studied art on both sides

  • “Funky Lessons”

    Whenever anyone headed toward the exit during the daily run of “Funky Lessons,” a young woman startled visitors by melodramatically swooning at their feet and, with a faraway gaze, uttering a few cryptic words before quickly rising and returning to the reception desk. She spoke in a monotone of moving “beyond the cul-de-sac of a false choice between harmless hermeticism and patronizing gestures,” a dichotomy that formed the premise of this show organized by German critic and Frieze editor Jörg Heiser. Lifting lines from the show’s press release, Tino Sehgal arranged for the impromptu performances

  • Nils Norman

    The clear message of social and political critique once projected by Nils Norman’s work has become opaque in his latest computer-based pictures. Gone is the diagrammatic approach in which well-organized groups of images are directly accompanied by concise, often humorous texts elucidating the artist’s position on the urban environment’s present failings and future potential. His new ink-jet prints on coated Alu-Dibond panels are still generated with Illustrator, his preferred software program, but the pictorial elements now float, unmoored and relatively decontextualized, against lush red

  • Documenta 12 curator Roger M. Buergel

    AMID ALL THE FRENZIED speculation surrounding the selection of the next Documenta curator, Roger M. Buergel probably didn’t top many lists of potential candidates. Although known and respected throughout much of the German-speaking art world, he only began to organize relatively sizable exhibitions within the past four years. Moderate recognition in the United States came in late 2002, when the Menil Collection in Houston named Buergel the first recipient of its Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement. Yet his lack of renown in the States, coupled with the award’s newness, made it a

  • 3rd Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art

    The high expectations for a flourishing gallery scene that accompanied Berlin’s inaugural biennial in 1998 have since been tempered by a stubbornly stagnant economy. Despite the setbacks, the city’s relatively unpolished, do-it-yourself approach makes it a key site of European art production, if not always consumption.

    The high expectations for a flourishing gallery scene that accompanied Berlin’s inaugural biennial in 1998 have since been tempered by a stubbornly stagnant economy. Despite the setbacks, the city’s relatively unpolished, do-it-yourself approach makes it a key site of European art production, if not always consumption. The artistic director for this third biennial, Ute Meta Bauer (a member of the Documenta 11 team), has invited five guest curators and roughly forty-five artists to address what she calls thematic “hubs”—Urban Conditions, Sonic Scapes, Migration, Fashions

  • “Grotesque!”

    The average person might not immediately associate the Germanic sensibility with a propensity to laugh, but that was precisely Charles Baudelaire’s argument in the 1850s when he singled out Germany as a nation where “all is weighty, profound and excessive” and which was therefore particularly suited to the grotesque, a genre that, he said admiringly, inspires “immediate laughter.” Featuring work by a wide variety of modern and contemporary German-speaking artists, from Arnold Böcklin to John Bock, “Grotesque! 130 Years of Witty Art” put the poet’s theory to the test. Clearly, the mode of grotesque

  • “Exhibitions of an Exhibition”

    When Swiss curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist began organizing exhibitions in the early ’90s, his clear point of reference was the ’60s and ’70s, in terms of both content and his own persona, which drew on Harald Szeemann’s transformation of the curator into an auteur. Whatever one thought of shows like Obrist’s “Do it”—which self-consciously revived Fluxus-era instruction-based projects—he never hid his historical debts. By contrast, Obrist’s less rigorous followers—and they are many—thrive on the knowledge that current curatorial practice is a voracious and permissive beast and allows for greatly

  • Andrea Fraser

    Organized by Kunstverein director Yilmaz Dziewior, this sampling of roughly forty works produced by Andrea Fraser since the mid-’80s is the artist’s largest show to date.

    Organized by Kunstverein director Yilmaz Dziewior, this sampling of roughly forty works produced by Andrea Fraser since the mid-’80s is the artist’s largest show to date. With a catalogue containing essays by Dziewior, George Baker, and Anke Kempkes and a compilation of Fraser’s own extensive writings, the last fifteen years of one particularly versatile strain of institutional critique is open to scrutiny. Fraser’s work, which ranges from the quietly cerebral to the spectacularly performative, has had a lot to say about how this genre evolved through the ’90s. Typically characterized by an

  • Nedko Solakov

    Having spent over a decade demonstrating a flair for the absurd and the marginal, Nedko Solakov has long resisted the ordering impulse inherent in the midcareer survey. Curators Charles Esche (Rooseum, Malmö, Sweden), Enrico Lunghi (Casino Luxembourg), and Martin Sturm (O.K. Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Linz, Austria) will most likely witness a show whose form changes as Solakov responds to each venue. Along with essays by the artist and curators, the accompanying catalogue will contain contributions by Saul Anton, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, and Jordan Kantor, among others, that should shed

  • Ann Lislegaard

    In a passage from The Poetics of Space (1958) in which he discusses the solitude and passivity to be experienced in the corner of a room, Gaston Bachelard urges poets to “designate the space of our immobility by making it the space of our being.” Ann Lislegaard’s Corner Piece—The Space Between Us, 2000–2003—two freestanding, white-painted facades meeting at a right angle a short distance from the gallery walls—seemed to respond directly to Bachelard. Though the piece offered little information on a visual level, the space-shaping presence of recorded voices, emanating from speakers installed at

  • Isa Genzken

    When Isa Genzken concluded work on her roughly six-year series of concrete sculptures in 1992, her turn to glass and mirrors might have signaled greater rationalization of her practice. The heavy slablike structures mounted on metal stands, which had defined much of her work in the late ’80s, were unruly, their pockmarked walls often suggesting buildings on the verge of collapse. The hard-edged, smooth surfaces of glass implied more stable forms, a cleaning up of her act. This new survey of work from the past decade, with its focus on recent projects, revealed that her practice has continued to

  • Michael Krebber

    Ten years after his last New York solo show, Michael Krebber returned with an installation called Flaggs (Against Nature), 2003, that might have been a bit perplexing for an audience unfamiliar with his work. Krebber has been well known in Germany since the mid-’80s as an erstwhile assistant to Martin Kippenberger; he might even be considered the latter’s alter ego. If Kippenberger was the brash, satirical commentator on art-world politics, the description goes, then Krebber was the quiet but influential Conceptualist behind the scenes. But as Merlin Carpenter, another former Kippenberger studio

  • Donald Moffett

    As critics increasingly lament video art’s dependence on the “black box,” many artists have been trying to revise the shopworn standards, technical and formal, for projecting images. Donald Moffett’s tactic has been to allow the distinct representational strategies of painting and video to collide in ways that highlight certain historical preconceptions about each medium. For his latest New York show, Moffett eschewed the kind of relatively direct digital analogy to painting seen recently in the work of artists like Jeremy Blake; instead, he took on painting’s familiar visual field as a support

  • Rosemarie Trockel

    First encounters with Rosemarie Trockel have often left American viewers puzzled. The many narrative routes into her work, plus the specificity of her German-language references, can appear unfathomable. Yet this didn’t prevent a favorable critical consensus from emerging here in the 1990s. Indeed, the very notion of missed signals is at the heart of her practice, as demonstrated by a sub-installation in her latest appearance in New York. Two cases displayed maquettes for about two dozen unrealized book and catalogue projects conceived between 1983 and 2000. One book, Looking at Idols, 1984,

  • Jonathan Podwil

    The art historian Gertrud Koch once characterized Gerhard Richter’s famously fuzzy-edged technique as the “Richter-scale of blur.” I thought of this phrase when viewing Jonathan Podwil’s recent exhibition of painting and film. The artist’s still and moving images feature scenes in which people and objects make their way across the expanse of the frame, with the “blur” factoring heavily in determining a moment between motion and stasis. Yet Podwil’s images operate within a plodding register of animation that calls attention to the tactile qualities of film rather than commenting on painting’s